10 Steps to Brainwash Your Son to Love Your Favorite Sports Team

Throughout this fatherhood experience, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s important to focus on the endgame of a given mission. During the 21-22 NFL season, I set out to brainwash my son into becoming an SF 49ers fan. This brainwashing process had been years in the making. Seven years to be exact. I hope dads out there enjoy this fun fatherhood blog of a dad just trying to brainwash his son to love his favorite football team in 10-easy-steps. With football season here, learn more.

Step 1 – Do NOT Be A Fan Of A Dumpster Fire Team  

Have some decency as a father, this is your son’s future you are talking about! Hopefully, your team has a rich history of winning championships and ideally a recent string of playoff victories like the 49ers. Dallas Cowboy, New York Knick, and USC Trojan fans can stop reading here HAHA

Wearing Niners gear the day my son was born

Step 2 – Wear Your Favorite Team Shirt On The Day Your Son Is Going To Be Born 

Keep in mind that proper planning matters. This might mean that you have a week’s worth of shirts so you can wear a different one each day leading up to the due date. When your son is born, ask someone to take a picture of you holding your newborn while wearing your favorite sports team shirt. This will serve as proof to your son that he was meant to be a fan of your squad.

Step 3 – Buy Onesies Of Your Favorite Team

When your son is born, you want some of his earliest moments captured with him wearing onesies with your team logo imprinted on them. Make sure to take plenty of pictures of both your son and you cuddled together in the gear. This serves as additional evidence of your son’s loyalty to the squad since the day he was born.

Favorite sports team onesie - 49ers!
Favorite sports team onesie – 49ers!

Step 4 – Gradually Introduce Your Son To The Sport Through Play 

Buy your son his first football. It can be a child-friendly football like Nurf. Begin simply with a game of catch at the park. When you go on walks, bring him the ball and teach him to hold it in his arm opposite the street. At the park, let your son create whatever imaginary game he wants that involves catching or running with the football. Then play the game and don’t forget to occasionally juke your son out of his shoes because it makes for a great memory!

Depending on how your son responds to physical play, introduce him to a friendly stiff arm and watch him fall to the ground in pure delight. Finally, during this time, try to withhold exposing him to your professional team. The goal is to work towards exposure at the optimal time, which is when your squad is balling.

Step 5 – Teach Your Son The Chants

Bang Bang Niner Gang!

Ain’t nothing finer than to be a 49er!

Young children learn through song and play. You want to leverage this fact by introducing your son to your team’s rhythmic chants no matter how corny

the chants might be.

Step 6 – Bundle Your Son Up In The Team’s Apparel 

This meant to further condition your son on a subconscious level to embrace the squad. You can tuck your son in bed with your team’s logo imprinted blankets and comforter. Keep a team-inspired mini blanket in the car that’s used to keep your child warm on those fridged days and maybe a cute little team beanie too. The blank

et can even be used when you show up to daycare and surprise your little lad with an early morning wagon ride through the neighborhood.

I’d show up to daycare before work to take my son on a wagon ride.

Step 7 – Watch Your First Game Together! 

Now just like there are many of us who enjoy fond memories of tailgating festivities at the sporting events we attended in our youth, the same concept applies here. Think about it, our most cherished birthday parties, graduation parties, or gender reveal parties are largely memorable due to the decor. So when you decide to watch your first football or basketball game with your son, make it a big deal! Create a team color-inspired balloon wreath. Get some theme-colored paper plates. Maybe a team flag. Such attention to detail is what creates culture whether it’s at a college football game or at an NFL game.

Step 8 – Pregame Drawing Session

Sit down with your son and draw your team’s best player. For the recent NFC Championship game between the SF 49ers and the L.A. Rams, my son and I drew a Niners football player. We often follow the instructions of the artist and father of four, Rob, who does an awesome job of breaking the process down to its most basic components on his Arts for Kids Hub YouTube channel.

Pregame drawing session

Step 9 – Meal Time Fun

One key component to a successful tailgate party aside from the booze is the food. This is your time to dial it back on the USDA Dietary Guidelines that I know all of you conscious fathers use when meal prepping for your lads.

Now is the time to allow your child to indulge in the finer things in life. Place candy, chips, and fruit bowl out. And don’t forget the dip! Maybe introduce him to a new food.

Believe it or not, during this recent 2022 NFC Championship game, I introduced my son to a delicious wet burrito! Admittedly, my boy does a great job of trying new food even if he thinks it looks disgusting. On this occasion, he emphatically said, “it looks nasty, Papa.” With a little prodding, he gave it a try and promptly declared, “this tastes good!”

Another favorable experience to help condition him to join the Bang, Bang, Niners Gang.

Step 10 – Surprise Time And Watch The Game Hoping Your Team Prevails

I would encourage Dads to be strategic with the game you choose to launch your son into [insert team] super fandom. By now, with the pictures and my foreshadowing, you probably guessed that I leaned on the 2022 San Francisco 49ers versus L.A. Rams NFC Championship game. I had a degree of confidence that the squad could win the game. In the lead-up, the Niners won six straight against the Rams. So, I wasn’t lacking confidence that it could be seven straight with a trip to the Super Bowl.

When game day arrived, the decor, drawing, candy, and snacks had my boy amped for kickoff. Knowing that all sons want to be like their dads, I donned the same 49ers shirt I wore when he was born before gifting him his very one shirt. As you can see, he was elated to put on his shirt so he could look just like his Papa while we went to pick up the food.

Gifted my son a Kittle Up the Middle 49er’s T-shirt for the big game.

As you can tell, a lot went into setting the stage for my son to embrace my squad as his squad. Yet it was important that he decided on his own who he wanted to ultimately support. So when he told me he’d cheer for the Niners for that game only before making his decision, I gave him a high-five and told him that was fair.

We ended up having the best time ever watching the game! It was our first time truly watching a game, any game, from beginning to end. That experience allowed us to bond even more as he leaned on my insights about the nuances of the game within the game. You see, he’s at the stage as a seven-year-old where he’s governed largely by his emotions. It’s my role to help him understand how a man manages his emotions while still being emotionally accessible and attuned to his feelings.

Although the outcome of the game wasn’t what I wanted, the journey to that point was well worth the effort. With the Rams in the Super Bowl, and the entire experience two weeks prior all designed to help my son pick his team, he definitely ended up with a team of his own. We are officially a house divided now that my boy is a diehard Rams fan. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

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